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University's Business and health initiatives featured in a new report celebrating the role of universities in spreading opportunity.

8th July 2022

Solent University, Southampton is featured in a new report that has been launched to celebrate the wide-ranging role that universities in the UK play in spreading opportunity.

The University Best Practice White Paper sets out just some of the actions and projects that are having a direct impact on students and communities. These include widening participation activities, collaboration with local businesses and case studies from students whose lives have been turned around by higher education.

The report was produced by former Education Secretary Rt Hon Justine Greening’s Purpose Coalition - a group of purpose-led businesses, universities and public sector organisations.  It was launched at an event in Parliament with speeches from Greening, Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham and the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education, and Professor Steven West, Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol and President of Universities UK.

Justine Greening said: “Our University Best Practice White Paper is full of brilliant, practical examples of levelling up. Not only does it highlight opportunities being spread to those from under-represented backgrounds but also the wider impact that universities can have through research, procurement and many other things. It has never been a more important time to reap the wider benefits of the successful approaches contained in this paper, as the levelling up debate necessarily shifts onto practical solutions.

“Moving forward there is a huge opportunity to develop the role that universities play as anchor institutions. Having worked hard on widening participation, universities have key insights that can be used more widely. There is no doubt in my mind that our universities should be at the centre of the UK’s levelling up plans.”

The report highlights a couple of Solent projects that are playing an important role in levelling up -positively impacted students and communities.

Solent’s Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences is a weight-loss programme designed to provide an appropriate and safe exercise environment that facilitates an increase in physical activity participation amongst BAME women. It provides an all-female, non-intimidating environment which caters for cultural and religious restrictions and enables women to experience and enjoy a variety of sports and physical activity that they would otherwise not feel comfortable in accessing.

Leadership programmes, delivered by Solent Business school, to help small businesses grow,  are also featured. The University’s best practice case studies are featured in full on page 54-55 of the report here.